Thursday, January 08, 2004

WSJ.com - Personal Technology: For Tabbed Browsing And Other New Tricks, Try Explorer's Rivals

WSJ.com - Personal Technology: For Tabbed Browsing And Other New Tricks, Try Explorer's Rivals: "The Web browser is probably the most frequently used category of software in the world. But in recent years, the browser most people rely on -- Microsoft's Internet Explorer -- has been stagnant, offering very few new features.
This is a common pattern with Microsoft. The company is aggressive about improving its software when it first enters a market. But once it crushes its competitors and establishes an effective monopoly, as it has in Web browsers, Microsoft seems to switch off significant innovation. Other, smaller companies, however, have been plugging away at improving the Web browser. There are numerous competitors to IE that include integrated popup ad blockers, better privacy controls, easier searching and other enhancements.
... my two favorite post-IE, tabbed browsers are Safari on the Mac, and NetCaptor on Windows. I use both daily, on multiple computers."

I switched to Mozilla Firebird for a while after an overdose of alpha and beta software broke IE on my laptop; I've since rebuilt the laptop and am happily using IE again. The pop-up ad blocking in Firebird was useful for sites that abuse pop-up ads, such as nytimes.com, but it also blocked some other contexts in which pop-ups are used for non-advertising purposes. Apparently the next release of the MSN Explorer has some features that make it easy to distinguish ad pop-ups; that's a hopeful leading indicator. In the meantime, I don't agree with Walt Mossberg's broader conspiracy theory about Microsoft modus operandi; I expect to see tabs etc. in IE over time -- although perhaps not on the Mac, since Apple seems intent on supporting Microsoft's long-standing view that the browser is part of the OS...
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